Tuesday, April 21, 2015


I've gotten into the habit of domestic duties on Friday nights. I'm pretty thrilling. :P I guess this is what happens when you are over 30...tho I can't say I was allll that much more fun at 20. 

So, Friday was quite uneventful. I cleaned. I made these for dinner.

Preston put on 'Gladiator' and I got really sucked into it until I fell asleep. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?! Seriously one of the best movies ever. 

It's such a good feeling on Saturdays to open your eyes and realize that you don't have to go to work and that you can sleep a little bit more. It's a great thing.

I had some tea and read a couple blogs before getting ready for my day. Around 9, Gianna and Joanna arrived followed not long after by Marcy. We walked down towards Venice for a beach clean up. It was a beautiful day and there were TONS of people there. 

Things I learned at the beach clean up:

1. The sewage plant near LAX used to put 'liquid waste' two miles out and 'solid waste' five miles out...and it wasn't all that treated. Now it's treated more and put further out to sea. EW.

2. All these 'nutrients' caused tons of plankton to come to the area of Santa Monica Bay and then die...which sucked oxygen out of the water creating a dead zone where no sea life could live.  It took 10 years of work to see some improvement in this problem. 

3. You greatly increase your chance of getting sick if you swim in close proximity to a pier. Piers often hide drainage pipe and have old sewage systems that leak underneath. EW.

4. Hundreds of sea lion pups are washing ashore dead or dying due to warm water temps and overpopulation. (Preston had actually already told me of this problem. He keeps seeing them.) 

5. You shouldn't swim or get in the water within 3 days of rain, because the bacteria levels are very high due to inland runoff. (I knew this too and Preston just IGNORES it all the time, yet somehow doesn't get sick. ew.)

             The ocean in California is pretty gross and it's sad. :-/

6. Styrofoam is an evil invention. It breaks into millions of tiny pieces that are impossible to pick up. 

7. There's some disconnect between cigarette butts and littering. IT'S LITTERING. Those things are EVERYWHERE. The beach is not your personal ashtray. Show some inkling of thought before just tossing it on the ground. Cigarette butts wash from miles and miles inland out to sea.

After picking up a billion pieces of Styrofoam, an absurd number of cigarette butts (don't worry, we wore gloves), pieces of plastic, streamers, a TAMPON (ew. I used the bucket to scoop it up. We aren't expected to pick up those things), plates, utensils, tissues and other things, we headed back to my place.

Some of our finds (mostly teeny Styrofoam!)

We reapplied sunscreen and hydrated and then jumped in the car to head to the Festival of Books at USC. 

Festival of Books is a big book fair held on the University Park Campus. There were probably a thousand tents, multiple stages, and numerous speakers. 

We love books :D 

The four of us got lunch at a place on campus I've been wanting to try-Seeds. The salads we got were pretty yummy. While we were eating, we chatted with an author who was there to scope out the event. I think we were all impressed with how cool she was. :D

This is her blog. 

We strolled through the tents. Many tents were selling books and others were selling book related items or handing out information. There were more than a few Scientology tents...creepy! Everyone bought a book but me. It's terrible, but I'm a devout Kindle reader. I never thought it would happen to me, but it has. I just LOVE my Kindle!! Even if I have the paperback...I'll buy it on Kindle if the price is reasonable. It's a problem. :P

hehe. I took this.
One of the coolest thing we saw was on the kid's stage. The Museum of Natural History, which is just off campus has pretty convincing dinosaur puppets/robots. It was fun to watch all the kids react to it. AND! The dinosaur had wispy feathers, which is now the latest dinosaur hypothesis by archaeologists. 


The day was really warm, so we kept moving in search of water and shade.

I took the girls by the lab to show them where I work. It was especially fun to show Marcy, since we used to work together. :)

From there, we headed home. I said goodbye to everyone and spent some time catching up on "The Amazing Race". I think it would be so fun to go on that show, but I'd probably have a melt down on air. Being tired does not agree with me.

I made this tasty dinner and we decided to check out "Trip" again-the live music place down the street.

We had to pay the $5 cover, which I'm quite able to tell you...was not worth it:P However, the band was much better than it had been last time. These musicians were younger and played their instruments with a lot more skill. The vocals and lyrics were still weird though. The last band was like death metal, so we took off. 

Sunday was pretty boring and not much to talk about. I started the "Outlander" series and finished "The Killing" on netflix. 

That wraps it up for me. :) I hope everyone else had a nice weekend! 

Monday, April 13, 2015


Hellllooo everybody. We just had an EARTHQUAKE!! Ok, it wasn't really all that exciting...Preston was laying (lying? I never get this correct) on the floor (he just does. I don't know the why) and I was sitting next to him on the floor and the windows rattled. That's it. Now, we were both on the floor...and felt nothing from the ground. To be honest, I wasn't even sure it WAS an earthquake until it was confirmed by friends on the great source of knowledge ;) known as Facebook. Such a funny earthquake. Apparently, it was a 3.5 in Baldwin Hills...the SECOND earthquake in this area today. 

I don't even know where Baldwin Hills is...please hold for googling. 

Ohhh it's a fancy name for Crenshaw! I blame Dr. Dre for my biased opinions of anything mentioned in his songs or conversations. Wikipedia says it's an 'affluent' neighborhood with notable residents such as Michael J. Fox. Wellll. 

Baldwin Hills is also home to an oil field...which, brings to mind fracking. Two small earthquakes in nearly as many hours? Hrmm. Fracking? 

But this is Sunday! And this is a weekend post. Before Sunday, there was Friday and then Saturday.

I got out of work a bit early on Friday (woot woot) and celebrated by binge shopping for cheese at Whole Foods. I just needed a snack. I blame Paris. I picked up some of my most favorite and absurdly expensive "Spicy Gouda Dip", but when I got home...it was all wrong. It was just wrong. It wasn't Gouda. It was like, oily. ugh.  I can't even talk about it. We will pretend it didn't happen and continue to buy it at every chance, since it is THE best thing in the World. 

I'm reading another good book-'The Husband's Secret',so I HAD to go read for a bit in the tiny remaining patch of sun at the corner of our neighbor's apartment. It feels sooooo good to be gobbling up books again!! I've always been an avid reader, but sometimes I get in these reading ruts. I've been suffering through the damn 'Dark Tower' series for six months. It was like a chore to read, so these other books are like candy! Despite my struggle with the Dark Tower...I will admit it's in my head. Damn that Stephen King. It's a very love/hate feeling. 

Then I cleaned and listened to Fleetwood Mac-lamenting not to be at their concert happening THAT night in LA. blast. 

I made a GIANT serving of roasted veggies with tempeh for dinner and Preston and I watched the documentary "Lost Angels" about Skidrow in downtown LA. Pretty interesting. Looks like a rough place, but I have to admit that I see a lot of homeless and crazy things just in day to day life here. Then we watched a documentary about the sinking of the Titanic and I got seriously reminiscent about the movie, which I've seen more times than I think is healthy to admit. I'm quite sure I've spent more than AN ENTIRE DAY OF MY LIFE watching that movie.  I now totally want to sit down for 4 hours and watch it again. It's SO good! :P 

Saturday morning was cool and crisp...aka freezing here. Seriously. Preston and I ran around shutting all our windows. After my 30 mins of yoga, I sat outside in the sun reading more of my book. What is this husband's secret?!


More cleaning---this time trying to go through some bags of clothes. It's insane I lived so long on our trip with so little...b/c now I want ALL my clothes and I have a very many. I really need to thin it out. 2/3 of my clothes are in our storage unit in Long Beach. I picked up a couple bags last weekend when we were down there. It's seriously crazy. I have a lot of clothes and I love them all. I'm not even a very fashionable person, but I do like options. :D

ANYWAY...per usual, anytime I go near anything that could have even one dust mite on it...I get sick and sneezy, so I had to go sit outside in the sun and read some more. It really is the only cure. ;)

Then I made these cookies and they are mostly butter and sugar and oh my gosh...they are good. Like, GOOD. Like, you will eat them all and then feel kind of bad about yourself. I used pecans instead of walnuts. I'm trying to use up all this oatmeal I have left over since Preston dropped his fad of eating giant bowls of it every morning. 

In the late afternoon, our friends Jake and Elizabeth came over to check out this live music place near our house. After hanging at our place a bit, we headed down to the bar. Preston was there with a friend for dinner on a blues night a few weeks ago and wanted to check it out again.

We had typical bar food, which was actually really good AND prepared by our bartender on a hot plate type set up at the end of the bar. Pork sliders, two flat bread pizzas, and a turkey burger. Wow. She seriously only had a microwave, a toaster, and a small griddle thing. We HAD to tip her well. 

Soundcheck 1 2 
And then, the band came on. Oh my goodness. haha. I'm laughing just to remember. They were SO bad. I mean, SO bad. After an hour long (and sort of embarrassing) sound check...the band began playing and we all just looked at each other. I think I even mouthed the word 'no' to Preston. Lol! The band was 3 old guys...that would NEVER have been rock stars (like-really really nerdy) and an out of place young drummer. The lead singer was REALLY into it. I think he's lived for this all week. And even though he had on jeans and a button down...he was embracing his inner David Bowie. At least, I think that's who he was trying to sound like. The lyrics just repeated over and over in this strange deep voice while he flailed around making air love to his uncomfortable looking band mates. It was awesome. We only stayed for two songs. It felt wrong to leave after just the first. Preston said the only thing that could have redeemed them after the opening song was if they had played the instrumental from Charlie Brown. hahah! What?!

That is a great song.

We headed back to our place and I went to bed not long after because a) I don't really drink and b) I'm super old. 

Sunday morning...more yoga. More reading. Preston sat in the sun with me when he got home from surfing. I finished the book! It was great. I recommend.


Jake and Elizabeth stopped by to get their car. We chatted with them for a bit in the sunshine. 

Gianna came over for a hike, but we decided for a bike ride instead. I've been in search of this bakery I've heard of called Gjusta. Evidently, it's all the rage down in Venice. Gianna and I grabbed our bikes, which ironically used to belong to she and Gavin, and we headed down to the beach path.


It was treacherous riding today as there were tons of people around. Basically we spent the whole time manuvering around pedestrians lolly gagging in the bike lane. Angry face. We took to the alleys for more space and less walkers (I can't think this word without imagining Rick Grime's gruff voice). Everyone in the alleys was super friendly and smiley. Our people! We made it to Marina Del Rey and turned back and inland to find...GJUSTA.


Talk about an unassuming place. It's so cool that there isn't even a sign out front. I guess it's all just word of mouth? 'We are so incredibly tasty and awesome...we don't even advertise on our OWN building.' ??  I was even MORE intrigued.


We locked up the bikes and strolled in to hang open-mouthed over the display cases. YUM! They had freshly baked bread, dips, sandwiches, pastries, cakes, cookies, salads, coffees and more. Mmmm. The excellent and friendly staff were SO helpful. Gianna got a cucumber ginger (? I think) juice (that was laughably small) and some carrot cake to take home to Gavin. I got TWO baguettes, a totally impulse decision--I was just so excited to see REAL baguettes after so long that I couldn't help myself, and some black olive tapenade. 


Baguettes in my bag
Go-ddesses of the Venice Alleyways ;)
From Gjusta, we biked it on home....me feeling ridiculous for buying TWO giant baguettes. Preston was there pregaming Game of Thrones with MORE Game of Thrones and we jumped into the baguettes and tapenade...whereupon it became readily obvious that I had made the absolute correct decision in buying TWO giant baguettes. Oh my gosh...they were good, with like a hint of honey. And the tapenade? Divine!! We ate it ALL and an entire baguette. haha!! 


Gianna, who is like a foodical genius went home and immediately recreated the tapenade. Incredible. She's always dissecting food into its many parts so that she can figure out how to make it. She's so incredibly smart and it's so interesting to witness. She's already posted it on her blog

The aftermath

I made this orzo soup for dinner (quite tasty) and we dug into the second baguette. #noshame. Game of Thrones, earthquake, bed. The usual.

Happy Monday!! :)

Friday, April 10, 2015


So, my drive to work is pretty awesome. It takes like 10-15 minutes to get to the campus.

That sign should add 'or picture taken while driving', but it was so beautiful...I couldn't resist!! 

Depending on the weather...the last mile or so of my drive can be pretty problematic. The street along campus somehow FUNNELS the sun RIGHT INTO my eyeballs. It's intense. I can only see about 4ft in front of my car, which is terrifying with so many pedestrians afoot. Sunglasses do not help. The visor in my car does not help. I'm always grateful for cloudy mornings--which are really more the norm here in LA. Takes a while for that marine layer to burn off, though it doesn't always go quite so far inland as downtown. Luckily, the sun is moving as it gets later in the year :D 

After I brave the tunnel o' sun...I have to walk a mile from the parking structure where I can park. I could definitely gripe about this, but I've chosen to look on the bright side of things. For one, it's forced exercise. There's a shuttle I can take...but a 2 mile (round trip) walk a day is a great work out for my legs. I try to keep a quick pace. If I time it just right...I'll arrive at the corner at the same time as this guy:

He's a SERIOUSLY fast walker and I try to keep pace with him. I bet he has no idea he has a walker stalker ;)

For two, it's not like the weather is ever really TERRIBLE here. It's very rarely rainy (although, I had a great time walking even when it was) and the temperature is always moderate. Truly, I'm quite lucky.

Part of my walk takes me under the 110 Freeway. Luckily, it's well lit. The most interesting part of my walk is the homeless person that sleeps there. I don't know if its a man or woman, because they are always nestled under a shower curtain (which isn't a bad idea). But what intrigues me is...the cups. This person arranges empty fast food cups...upside down in a strange triangular pattern around the shower curtain. I'm sure it's just some kind of mental illness, but I find it fascinating-what the mind will come up with.

Luckily the campus is beautiful, so my walk really is quite nice. I try to get to the lab early. It's nice to get things started and have some time to arrange my thoughts.

Fridays are the best, because I treat myself to a latte from the Starbucks on campus. I hope everyone reading has a great weekend!! 

Monday, April 6, 2015

(Easter) Weekend.

Monday Monday. I'm so super sleepy today! I can't help but wish I was on Spring Break like a few lucky people I know. :D

Work has been going much better lately. I wasn't nearly as wiped out on Friday as I have been in the previous weeks. Nonetheless, we didn't do very much. :) I am enjoying the late hours of sunshine. I was home early enough to read in the small patch of sun that remained outside our place. I've been reading "The Secret Place" by Tana French. Since reading "In the Woods" a number of years ago, I've just LOVED Tana French and all her books. Her writing style is unlike any I've read before in that she builds main characters of subsequent books from secondary characters in preceding books. It's pretty interesting. Unfortunately though, "The Secret Place" just isn't grabbing me as much as her other books have. 

I ended up cleaning up around the apartment and making a yummy and CHEESY quinoa dish for dinner. It's from one of my favorite blogs-Iowa Girl Eats. I always enjoy the enthusiasm and positivity found in this blog...and the recipes are good, to boot. This is what I made, if anyone is interested. It's tasty!! Preston and I watched a documentary on Netflix called "Commune". It was interesting, to say the least. 

My greatest accomplishment from Friday was holding plank for TWO MINUTES!! My friend Trisha asked for how long I could hold plank...and I told her that I'd been practicing daily while in France and working myself up to 1 minute, but that I'd not done it recently. So, I set the timer on my phone and didn't even look at it for a minute and a half!! I made it to two minutes, but I think I could go to 2:30 or even 3 minutes with some will power. :D :D This is the ONLY evidence I've seen from all this working out I've been doing!! Preston says I look more toned, but I disagree. However, an easy two minute plank is PROOF that I'm stronger and I'm pretty proud. 

I've been working hard to get in shape. I can't say I've really been in shape...EVER. Maybe when I was 17 and swimming in high school. Maybe. But that was a long time ago. I really want to get toned up and lose the remaining weight from the 20lbs I gained during our travels. I have 5lbs more to go to reach pre-trip weight and I'd like to lose a total of 10. 

My current work out regime is this:

I do at least 15 minutes of yoga every morning before work and then I walk my 2 mile roundtrip to and from my car to the lab. 

I do the yoga and walking, but also attend the hour long high intensity workout that is offered here at USC for FREE. (I mean, how can I not go?? I hate working out...but it's FREE!! and it's a great class).

I do 30 minutes of yoga and try to do some sort of physical exercise like a bike ride or a hike.

Despite all that...my only achievement is a 2 minute plank. I'm still pretty proud. :)

On Saturday, I did yoga, read blogs, and sat in the sun for a bit. I finally finished "The Secret Place" and started "Girl on the Train", which I CANNOT put down. It's SO good!!

Preston and I headed down to Long Beach to meet up with my friend Gianna who was visiting from San Jose with her boyfriend Nik. Nik works for Tesla and they were in town for the electric car race taking place that day.

Long Beach is home to the Grand Prix, which is an IndyCar Race held on the streets of downtown Long Beach. It's pretty cool. I've never actually been to the race, but could always hear the roaring engines from my apartment. The Grand Prix is in 2 more weeks, but the e-car race was a prelude to the all the racing festivities. The electric cars were much more quiet, of course :P

Preston and I caught the last half of the race and then got some drinks with Gianna and Nik and our friend Erica. We hit up a newish bar called Bo Beau. It had a really cool 1920s/1930s French ambiance and terrific food and drinks. The only downside was that it was pretty expensive. We ordered some cocktails and snacks and enjoyed the rooftop. 

I like to dress like an Indian

Erica had to head out, so Pres, Nik, Gianna, and I headed to George's Greek Cafe for dinner. George's is Preston's VERY favorite Long Beach restaurant. (He would eat there every day if he could!) So, we were DELIGHTED to be greeted at the entrance by George, himself!! George was a sweet old man and we raved to him about his delicious food. How cool!!

Another friend Zoia came towards the tail end of dinner to catch up with Gianna too. It was a great night.

On Sunday, I FINALLY cleaned my car. Now, I am a VERY clean person. I clean all the time. I find cleaning to be calming. :P When I got my very first car (a jetta), I would clean it ALL the time, but since getting my BMW...I've never actually cleaned it myself. How horrid is this? I've had it professionally detailed a few times, but I've never detailed it on my own. I feel so guilty!! 

I spent hours on Sunday cleaning the inside of my car and then took it to one of those do it yourself car washes. The outside isn't ship shape, but overall the car looks terrific and clean. Especially the inside...which hadn't been vacuumed since before my cross country trip. The shame!!

I gobbled up 30% of "Girl on the Train" and forced my friends to send me cute Easter pictures of their kids ;)

Griffin with bunny MAN

My <3

I mean, seriously!! 

Preston and I loaded into my shiny car and headed off to Eagle Rock. Blonde Gianna had invited us to accompany her to her family's Easter dinner. So nice!! We picked up Gianna and her brother and made our way to Gianna's mom's house in Pasadena. 

Gianna's mom (Janet)'s house was just beautiful and welcoming. She had even made us an Easter basket full of candy and goodies!! Amazing. :) 

Janet made this amazing juice. It was divine

Easter Basket!! 

Opening Easter Baskets :) 
Easter Dresses

How to pose.

We had a delicious dinner with great conversation and finished up the evening with an adult egg hunt!! How fun!! I can honestly say that I've not done an Easter Egg Hunt since I was a child. It's a great time!! AND Gianna's mom put MONEY in the eggs!! I found over $40!! It was beyond nice. 

Egg Huntin

My loot!! 
Our night was finished up watching documentaries back at Gianna's. We stayed way too late and got home way too late and I overslept this morning. :P Fail.

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter!!